Category Archives: Video Games

MWO Benefit Tournament For MechWarrior Family That Lost Home Due To Fire

Battle scene

courtesy of phoenixdominion.com and by spooky777

I know it’s the beginning of the year and the last thing people are thinking of is another MechWarrior Online tourney, but this one’s a bit out of the blue for a good reason.

On January first, New Year’s Day, a fellow MechWarrior and his family lost their home due to an electrical fire. Now he, his wife, and two children have nowhere to live. There’s the usual GoFundMe set up for this sort of tragedy, but waiting for the goodwill of men isn’t really this community’s style. We prefer taking things into our own hands.

To that end, this MechWarrior’s clanmates on MechWarrior Online have organized a tournament where the proceeds will all go towards getting this guy and his family a new home. Frag some bozos in multi-ton death machines and help people out while doin’ it; what more could you ask for?

And it’s not just one tournament – it’s actually three, held on January 20, 27th, and February 3rd. Each tourney will have its own unique spin on it to keep things fresh and exciting, and everyone who enters will have a random chance to win loot from all the movers and shakers in BattleTech.

Let’s hit the deets!

First, for every $5 you donate to the GoFundMe campaign you get to pick which event you’d like to participate in. Fifteen bucks get you entry into all three. You can absolutely donate more if you like, but it’s a $5 minimum to take part in at least one tournament. Email your receipt to MYCROFT000@GMAIL.COM along with which tourney you’d like to sign up for. Your receipt is your entry ticket, so don’t lose it.

solaris7_steinercoliseum

courtesy of mwomercs.com

Next, pick your tourney. January 20th will be a Solaris-style, 1v1 tournament, January 27th will be a 4v4 tournament where teams will be randomly assigned, and February 3rd will be a standard 8v8 tournament with similar rules to the World Championship.

January 20th Tournament

  • 1v1, Solaris-style matches.
  • Single elimination, best of three games tournament.
  • No restrictions on tonnage, equipment, or consumables, so you can get an Atlas versus a Locust.
  • Once you choose your ‘Mech, that’s your ride for the duration of the tournament. No switching loadouts in between matches.
  • Registration closes 48 hours before the tournament begins.
  • Grand prize is an Ultimate ‘Mech Pack of the player’s choice, which gives you all the variants for a particular ‘Mech, the Hero variant, and a bunch of cosmetic stuff.

January 27th Tournament

  • 4v4
  • Single elimination, best of three games tournament.
  • Each team of four will be randomly generated from all participants.
  • You may change your loadouts between matches, but max tonnage is always 300 tons per team.
  • Map will always be Skirmish on Canyon Network.
  • Registration closes 48 hours before the tournament begins.
  • Grand prize is Collector Mech Pack of the player’s choice per player on the winning team. Collector ‘Mech packs have 3 variants of the ‘Mech, a bunch of cosmetic stuff, but no hero variant.

February 3rd Tournament

  • 8v8 teams.
  • Rules will be similar to the MechWarrior Online World Championships (ie. Each team can have two lights, two mediums, two heavies, and two assaults).
  • Map will always be Conquest on Rubellite Oasis.
  • The structure of the tournament will be round-robin or single elimination, depending on the number of entrants.
  • Registration Closes 96 hours before the tournament begins.
  • Grand prize is a Standard ‘Mech Pack of each player’s choice, which has 3 variants, no 30% c-bill bonus variant, no hero variant, and fewer cosmetics than either of the previous packs.

HBS Merch

Now, say you’re a terrible MechWarrior and think you don’t even have a hope in hell of winning any of these three tournaments. That doesn’t mean you still can’t win a prize! All the big BattleTech names, PGI, Harebrained Schemes, Catalyst Game Labs, and Iron Wind Metals, have signed on to offer their support and have prizes available to all tournament contestants.

How will these prizes be given away? Throughout the tournament, various members of the MechWarrior’s clan, Sixth of June [6of6], will challenge you to a 1v1 fight “with various arbitrary and absurd rules imposed from stock loadouts to battling with nothing but machine guns and no front torso armor.” It sounds insane, but fun, and you get some sweet loot for participating.

All the details and rules are naturally on the MechWarrior Online forums, along with a heartfelt response from the homeless MechWarrior at the heart of the tournament, Safety Seth:

Simpson Family

“I cannot offer thanks enough. Moments like these leave the grace of tongue lost for expression. Know that my family, my pregnant wife Tamra (Freebirth scum I know :) ), my 12-year-old son Raven, who loves the RVN-3L, Nyxxie my 6-year-old daughter, and myself are humbled at such a thing. Thank you so very much.”

January 20th is only a few days away, so be sure to donate, email, and sign up for your chance to win and help a fellow MechWarrior out while doing it. Win-win.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

MWO World Championship Analysis with BanditB17 and mdmzero0

Ben BanditB17 and Mike mdmzero0

Now that the MechWarrior Online World Championships are over, it’s time to both look back at the tournament to see what worked really well, and also to look ahead to see what could be improved for next year. And I can think of no two people more qualified to speak to that subject than the two guys who have seen more of the tournament than anyone else, Ben “BanditB17” and Mike “mdmzero0”, the shoutcasters for the World Championship.

We sat down to chat about their thoughts on the most recent World Championship, the teams, and how things could be better for next time. 

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Watch the MechWarrior Online World Championship Finals

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

Good evening, ‘Mech fans! This is not Duncan Fisher, but now that I’ve mentioned his name you’re imagining the rest of this article in his voice, which was my plan all along.

The greatest competition in MechWarrior Online history concluded at Mech_Con 2017. This year’s World Championship finals was a fantastic display of skill from the best MechWarriors the world has to offer. Everyone was playing at the top of their game, and there were some real nail-biters that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

While the preliminary rounds were all posted on the Piranha Games Twitch channel, this year’s finals have been posted to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Also unlike the preliminaries, things were a bit different for the finals. The top three teams played a double-elimination tournament, meaning once a team loses twice they’re out of the running.

Each of the top three teams came to play in the grand finals, and absolutely no punches were pulled.

So without further adieu, here are your MechWarrior Online World Championship Finals!

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The BattleTech Match Of The Century: Mitch Gitelman vs. Jordan Weisman

The BattleTech Match Of The Century: Mitch Gitelman vs. Jordan Weisman

If you missed Mech_Con, then you missed one of the greatest duels of all time. Mitch Gitelman, co-founder of Harebrained Schemes, and Jordan Weisman, the other co-founder of Harebrained but also of FASA and all things BattleTech, fought to the death in their highly anticipated turn-based strategy game, BattleTech.

The stakes had never been higher for these two giants of industry. At Weisman’s suggestion, the pair agreed that whoever won the duel would take their opponent as his bondsman for a period of one week.

“Will you kneel to me, Weisman?” Gitelman asked.

“No, but you’ll kneel to me!”

“Bring it, old man.”

And thus, the battle was joined.

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Meet BattleTech’s Newest ‘Mech: The Sun Spider

 

Meet BattleTech's Newest 'Mech: The Sun Spider

Mech_Con brought a lot of fantastic new developments to BattleTech, but one of the most interesting ones was the introduction of a brand new ‘Mech born of a collaboration between Piranha Games (the makers of MechWarrior Online) and Catalyst Game Labs.

Called the Sun Spider, it’s a 70-ton OmniMech from Goliath Scorpion, a Clan we really haven’t heard from much recently until the release of The Wars of Reaving sourcebook. In it, we find out the ultimate fate of Goliath Scorpion, how they were abjured from Clan space and ultimately founded their own nation in the deep periphery.

But the Sun Spider comes before all of that, having been first conceived shortly after Clan Coyote introduced the OmniMech. It was shelved after the initial prototype proved to be too unwieldy, and only saw limited production during Operation REVIVAL.

Sun Spider

courtesy of Piranha Games

The primary configuration of the Sun Spider comes equipped with an Ultra AC/10, one ER Large Laser, and a whopping four Streak SRM-6, making it extremely deadly to anything that gets within close range. The chassis itself runs at a standard 81 kph (which I’m sure will get bumped up to 86.4 kph if it ever gets to the tabletop), and 14 double heat sinks keep the ‘Mech cool unless the pilot decides to start alpha-striking like there’s no tomorrow.

The Sun Spider‘s Quirky Birth

I spoke with PGI’s senior game designer David Bradley while at Mech_Con where he gave me the Sun Spider’s amusing origin story. Since the release of the Roughneck, PGI had been thinking of other ‘Mechs they could bring to MechWarrior Online that was developed completely in-house.

He described the original sketches for the new design as a “TIE fighter with legs”, something that would surely land PGI in BattleTech’s second legal spat with the Star Wars franchise. The design was refined after handing it over to the renowned Alex Iglesias, who both brought the ‘Mech to life and imparted his distinctive style to save PGI from a lawsuit.

Sun Spider

The next step was choosing a name. Originally the ‘Mech was to be called the “Manul” after a species of Asian wildcat. It was then changed to Sun Spider to better fit the lore of the ‘Mech, while Manul was kept as the name for the Hero variant.

Speakin’ of lore, PGI decided to take a different approach when creating the Sun Spider. Their initial in-house ‘Mech, the Roughneck, was a good first effort but just didn’t quite have the same feel as other machines in BattleTech. Let’s be honest, nobody wants to pilot a converted Industrial ‘Mech, which is why Dark Age wasn’t a very popular era in BattleTech history. To get that feeling of authenticity, PGI decided to team up with Catalyst Game Labs to see where they could insert the Sun Spider into BattleTech lore, and also get Randall N. Bills to write it all up.

Sun Spider

The final product feels just like an entry from a long forgotten Technical Readout, and has just the right tone and setting to feel like a natural part of the BattleTech continuity and not a fan-made ‘Mech roughly inserted into the universe. By using a little-heard-from Clan, PGI is able to attach that sought-after authenticity without needing to break any new ground.

You can read up on Star Colonel Tabok’s experience in Manul on the MechWarrior Online website.  

The Sun Spider is an interesting and unique addition to BattleTech, and one that helps flesh out the universe. I could see this design, and how it was created, touching off a larger debate on what is considered official canon in BattleTech, especially if it takes CGL some time to include this chassis in a new and official TRO.

What do you think of the new ‘Mech? Is the Sun Spider a fine new addition to BattleTech lore, or an unappreciated interloper on BattleTech’s hallowed ground? Let us know in the comments!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

PGI Releases New MechWarrior 5 Teaser, Updates on MechWarrior Online

PGI Releases New MechWarrior 5 Teaser, Updates on MechWarrior Online

Piranha Games had a rollicking time last Saturday, culminating with a slew of announcements at last Saturday’s Mech_Con.

For the MechWarrior Online fans in the audience (of which there were many) PGI previewed a brand new map and game mode all based on everyone’s favorite game world: Solaris VII.

Welcome To The Solaris Games

Solaris

courtesy of Piranha Games

MechWarrior Online is typically played as a 12v12 slugfest, where companies of ‘Mechs all rush in to make mincemeat of each other. In the World Championships, those battles are reduced to 8v8, making each team a pair of lances. In the new Solaris game mode, those battles are reduced even further to be 1v1 duels or 2v2 tag team fights.

Rather than have competitive classes divided into the standard light, medium, heavy, assault, and open class, MWO will divide things up into divisions numbered 1-7. Each division is demarcated by specific ‘Mech performance rather than weight to account for the fact that some ‘Mechs are simply better than others. This means that some lighter machines might find themselves grouped with heavier chassis – and vice versa – in a very similar way to how MechWarrior Arena handles there balance issues in their unofficial Solaris-style tournaments.

Solaris Divisions

courtesy of Piranha Games

Just like the Solaris Games, each MechWarrior will have their stats tracked and be placed on a leaderboard for their division based on their performance. And just like on Solaris, performance matters. You make money via patrons (similar to joining a stable) and the better you perform the greater your access will be to higher paying patrons. There’s also a “sponsor” system where you can be sponsored by companies like Defiance Industries and Vining Engineering (VEST) to give you a percentage bonus on your take-home pay.

Sponsors

courtesy of Piranha Games

It looks like they really tried to capture the feel of Solaris by also finally adding cosmetic additions to ‘Mechs. These cosmetics will be given randomly by patrons and sponsors (although, given the latest rulings against loot boxes in Europe we’ll have to see how that’s implemented), and they also don’t confer any real benefit. Strapping a giant ax to your Kodiak will not make it into a Berserker.

Leaderboards will track for a season which lasts three months before a champion is crowned and the whole thing resets for the next season. One can likely expect to see some special events happen here as well, such as a Grand Tournament of champions.

Kodiak With Axe

courtesy of Piranha Games

Solaris will release with three maps: The Jungle, The Colosseum, and Boreal Reach, with The Factory and Ishiyama hopefully making an appearance later.

Best of all, Solaris brings back everyone’s favorite announces from MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries Duncan Fisher. He’ll be joined by Lars Olafson, an actual canon announcer from the Solaris Broadcasting Corporation, to be Fisher’s co-commentator.

In what appears to be typical Russ Bullock fashion, he gave a tentative release date of “spring-ish” at Mech_Con. You can check out the teaser video below.

Along with the Solaris game mode came a new map for the standard MechWarrior Online 12v12 games called Solaris City. This map imagines a raging battle happening in the actual Solaris City, with ‘Mechs battling it out around iconic Solaris monuments in a neon-filled cityscape. It looks like there will be a few destructible objects too, which is relatively new for MWO, and likely inspired by their work on the upcoming MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.  

You Get A ‘Mech, And You Get A ‘Mech

The biggest news for MechWarrior Online fans had to be when Russ announced the largest giveaway in MWO history. For anyone that logs in to play one game on December 27th, they’ll receive 25 Stocking Stuffer clicks, 3 million c-bills, 3 days of premium time, 1250 mc (which is the game’s equivalent of about $10), and two free Hero ‘Mechs: the Roughneck and the Sun Spider.

Holiday Bonus

courtesy of Piranha Games

One of the biggest complaints surrounding MechWarrior Online is the heavy burden it places on new players, almost forcing them to spend real cash to make any progress. This giveaway is a fantastic way for new players to get into MechWarrior Online because it gives them a ton of resources absolutely free. If you ever considered playing MWO, download the client and log in to play one game on December 27th to get a ton of free stuff.

MechWarrior 5 Release Date Announced

Of course, the biggest news of the night is always surrounding the hotly anticipated MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Bullock played a brand new trailer for the game at Mech_Con, and MechWarriors old enough to remember will find some distinct similarities between the opening moments of the trailer and the opening moments of MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. Check it out:

It really seems that PGI is trying to take the best from the two previous Mercenaries games and make a definitive single-player MechWarrior experience. I managed to get my hands on a playable alpha build later in the evening to see what all the fuss was about, and I can confidently say the game has captured the best from MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior 4, and we’ll have to wait and see if it grabs the same kind of mercenary commander feel one got in MechWarrior 2.

Russ also announced a release date of December 2018. That gives them plenty of time to polish the game and work out the bugs, which they’ll need. Even with the beefiest hardware NVidia could provide, my time with MechWarrior 5 was marred by a truly abysmal frame rate. But keep in mind that I was the last person to play the build after a full day of gameplay on an Alpha version of the game. Likely there’s just a memory leak somewhere that needs to get plugged.

MW5

courtesy of Piranha Games

The extra year will also give PGI plenty of time to make good on their two big promises of the convention: full mod support and 4 player co-op. These are modern features never-before-seen in a MechWarrior game, and I cannot imagine the fun I would’ve had if only MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries had been a co-op experience. Details are scant, but Russ mentioned it would be like replacing one of your AI teammates with an actual human being – a godsend for any MechWarrior fan.

With 2018 fast approaching, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic year for all things MechWarrior. We’ll be sure to keep you in the know with every new announcement.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Mech_Con 2017 Recap

Mech_Con

If there were any doubts as to what is the new mecca (hah) of ‘Mech conventions, they were put to rest on December 9th, 2017.

Mech_Con brought together the biggest names from all things BattleTech, from PGI and Harebrained Schemes in video games to Catalyst Game Labs on the tabletop, and there has been a slew of super exciting announcements that will give any ‘Mech-head the chills.

We’ll certainly get more in-depth with each announcement in future articles, but first a quick recap of what went down at Mech_Con 2017.

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Update On The Harmony Gold Lawsuit

Update On The Harmony Hold Lawsuit

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

Things are looking bad for Harmony Gold, and good for our BattleTech heroes!

Piranha Games (not to be confused with the Piranha ‘Mech), makers of the successful MechWarrior Online game, have recently filed court documents that would dismiss the case brought against them by the much-reviled Harmony Gold.

If you recall from our last update on the case, there was some confusion on the part of Harmony Gold as they had entered into arbitration against the very company they said gave them the copyrights to the Unseen ‘Mechs, Tatsunoko Productions. At the time it appeared that Tatsunoko never actually owned the copyrights in the first place, which meant that Harmony Gold couldn’t have bought them and thus can’t sue anybody over them.

It looks like PGI found out how that case went since they’ve filed a request for summary judgment to dismiss the case entirely on the grounds that Harmony Gold doesn’t have the standing to bring any case of infringement to the courts.

Dismissal Dismissal 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

PGI’s lawyers make three compelling arguments that the judge should dismiss the case with prejudice:

  1. Harmony Gold does not own the copyrights for the Unseen ‘Mechs. Those copyrights are actually owned by a Japanese company called Big West Co. Ltd., a company I have literally never heard of.
  2. The Unseen copyrights were never licensed to Harmony Gold, and the licensing agreement actually excludes the copyrights they’re suing over. Which, by the way, they never owned in the first place since Harmony Gold licensed from Tatsunoko, not Big West.
  3. And here’s the big deal, and should be the nail in Harmony Gold’s coffin. That arbitration that took place between Harmony Gold and Tatsunoko in US District Court found a judgment that shows Harmony Gold officially does not have the license to the copyrights they’re trying to sue over.

That last bit is huge. If there’s a previous court case that a lawyer can point to that says Harmony Gold doesn’t legally own the copyrights, then it torpedoes their whole case. Not that it was a particularly strong case to begin with, if you remember the arguments they made when filing their suit originally.

I know that BattleTech has had some bad luck with judges in the past, but you’d have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to think that Harmony Gold has any legal standing to enforce a copyright they don’t even own. Here’s hoping the judge throws their case, and them, flat out on their asses.

And this time let’s hope they stay gone for good.

 

Ogre Video Game Released

Ogreing Away!

Last month, the official digitized version of OGRE was released on a few formats, including PC.  What is OGRE, how does it relate to BattleTech, and what can it do?

Ogreing Around the Map in Style!

OGRE was a futuristic science-fiction tabletop wargame released in 1977.  It was the first game made by famous game designer Steven Jackson, who would create games like Munchkin and GURPS.  OGRE was a very interesting design that had a few interesting things going for it, and in some ways, felt a little like BattleTech light.  It’s been so popular that countless versions, including some video game inspirations, followed.  There was even a sequel based around one of the units – GEV.

OGRE was a good example of an asymmetrical game.  One player played a single unit, the great, powerful, battletank, the OGRE.  Then the foe had units like hovertanks, normal tanks, missile launchers, and infantry to try and take it out.  Each of these units had their own rules.  Take the GEV hovercraft, for example.  It was the only unit that could move, fire, and then move again, enabling powerful hit-and-fade tactics.

The Doom Arrives!

OGRE has been pretty popular since its release.  It’s not difficult to finish a game quickly, sometimes in just 30 minutes, which enables fun at the table.  Different versions of the games introduce new rules to help make the game more interesting.  And the game’s design holds up very well after these years.  Some of the rules seem to evoke a sort of spirit of BattleTech.  For example, if a GEV begins and ends its movements on a road, railroad, or water, then it gets +1 to its move.  Sound similar to tanks in BattleTech?

I’ve always felt a connection with OGRE and BatteTech.  Can you imagine a game where one side has a single BattleMech and the other side conventional forces with the same BV?  Who wins?  Let’s find out!  From the hexagonal maps to the futuristic feel, the games play into a similar space.

Last month, an official updated version of OGRE was released in video game form by Auroch Digital, and you can pick it up on Steam if you want. Since any game you purchase on Steam can be returned with fewer than 2 hours of gaming, why not grab a copy, take it for a spin, and then try it out?  If you have never played OGRE, then this is a great time to check it out!  And if you have, then this is a great time to come back to the game!

Battletank Away!

Get your battletank on!